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Enlarged Spleen (cont.)

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Can an enlarged spleen be prevented?

An enlarged spleen is the consequence of another underlying illness, most of which may not be anticipated or prevented. Liver disease due to alcohol abuse, which causes cirrhosis and portal hypertension, can be prevented. With alcohol use, moderation is the key and excessive drinking has very dangerous consequences both in the short and long term. Certain causes of viral hepatitis (for example, hepatitis B and hepatitis C), which can lead to cirrhosis also can be prevented by avoiding contact with body fluids from infected individuals. Hepatitis B can also be prevented through vaccination. Finally, certain infectious diseases such as HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, and anaplasmosis can be prevented if the appropriate measures are taken to minimize the risks of acquiring the disease.

What is the prognosis for someone with an enlarged spleen?

Often, the prognosis for an enlarged spleen depends entirely upon the underlying illness. For example, in patients with infectious mononucleosis, the spleen will return to its normal size once the infection resolves.

In some instances, the spleen may need to be removed and the risk of infection may increase. In other cases, the spleen will remain enlarged and leave the patient at increased risk for bleeding, spleen rupture, and infection.

REFERENCE: Rakel RE, Rakel DR. Textbook of Family Medicine. 8th edition. Saunders. 2011.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/3/2014

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